Greg
animals food and drink
photography gardening
politics general
multimedia opinion
Stones Road house technology
Greg's diary
May 2018
Translate this page
Select day in May 2018:
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
Select month:
2017 Sep Oct Nov Dec
2018 Jan Feb Mar Apr
2018 May Jun Jul Aug
Today's diary entry
Diary index
About this diary
Previous month
Greg's home page
Greg's photos
Network link stats
Greg's other links
Copyright information
    
Groogle

Tuesday, 1 May 2018 Dereel Images for 1 May 2018
Top of page
next day
last day

Cherries? Tomatoes?
Topic: food and drink, gardening, opinion Link here

Callum Gibson asked me if there was a typo in yesterday's article about the tomatoes. Clearly I meant to write “cherry tomato”, but only wrote “cherry”.

No, I meant to write “cherry”. I had really thought that they were cherries. I have never seen tomatoes that small before. Here they are in comparison with Roma tomatoes from ALDI and our own cherry tomatoes from the garden:


This should be Tomatoes-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tomatoes 3          Dimensions:          4390 x 1969, 3379 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 2 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 2 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 2 May 2018 Complete exposure details

   
This should be Tomatoes-6.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tomatoes 6
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 685 x 395, 188 kB
Dimensions of original: 5186 x 2987, 4415 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 2 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

They're much smaller than cherry tomatoes, and the colour doesn't match either.


Compressing backups
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

How efficient is the compression on my EaseUS Todo backups? For the fun of it, I ran bzip2 on the old backup. It ran for about 5 hours, maxing out a core. Here the results:

-rwxr--r--  1 grog  wheel  229,987,848,192 12 Feb 13:33 System Backup (1)_20180212_Full_v1.pbd
-rwxr--r--  1 grog  wheel  206,841,590,660 12 Feb 13:33 System Backup (1)_20180212_Full_v1.pbd.bz2

That's about 10% savings. Is it worth it? It represents about the total storage capacity of all computers I used in my first 15 years of computing, but nowadays it's peanuts.


New induction cooker
Topic: general, food and drink, opinion Link here

Testing my new induction cooker has been hampered by lack of cable to connect it to a power point. Once upon a time I had lots of this sort of stuff lying around, but it seems that I threw most of it away when we moved to Stones Road nearly 3 years ago.

Finally I jury-rigged something together and tried it out. How do you turn it on? Secret key:

 
This should be Stirling-SICT60-1.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Stirling SICT60 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 656 x 412, 38 kB
Dimensions of original: 631 x 396, 12 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 1 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Pixellation courtesy of the PDF version of the instruction manual. The areas marked 1 are controls for the individual heating zones, 2 are up and down controls (no individual fields like my el-cheapo device). And the rest? 3 must be the on/off, no idea what 4 is, and 5 is the timer that these manufacturers can never resist adding.

Well, no. 3 did nothing. Power connection problems? No, it's 4 with the obvious symbol.

And how does it work? When you turn on a zone, it automatically comes up with level 5 out of 9, forgetting whatever was there before. If you want a low heat, you need to quickly turn it down before it starts burning things.

I tried it on level 1 for a while. Almost no heat at all, probably just what I wanted. But I really can't test it until I have something to cook. At any rate the first impression is that it isn't as rabid as the portable device.


Wednesday, 2 May 2018 Dereel Images for 2 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Sabre-rattling and neutral reporting
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Why is Russia so aggressive? Why have they invaded Ukraine? Why are they supporting Bashar al-Assad? Why did they flagrantly kill an ex-spy in the United Kingdom?

I get answers, of course, but they're all from Western news sources. And my Russian friends are all convinced that it's a smear campaign.

The same applies to other countries. Iran is the sole remaining country (hub?) of the axis of evil. But even the Western media have difficulty finding them actually doing anything in contravention of international law. Supplying arms to the Houthis? All Western countries supply weapons to some belligerent group. On the other hand, both Saudi Arabia and Israel are on record for violating the territorial integrity of their neighbours. Depending on how you count, Israel has been doing it for 50 or 70 years and shows no sign of living up to its claims of wanting peace. It shoots dead unarmed protesters in their own country and nobody stops them.

Even Iran's involvement in Syria is in accordance with international law: they were invited. Yes, the legitimacy of the Syrian regime is dubious, but what would happen if Assad were toppled? It would probably be a success story similar to the liberations of Iraq and Libya. Maybe that's what Russia and Iran are trying to avoid.

But Donald Trump doesn't like the Iran nuclear deal. Why? Who hasn't complied with the terms? That's simple: the USA. The Iranians were supposed to stop uranium enrichment, which they did, and the US Americans were supposed to lift sanctions, which they didn't. Who's in violation there?

But now, with US backing, Benyamin Netanyahu has got up on his hind legs and shown what he claims are documents stolen from the Iranians by the Israelis (clearly in accordance with international law). Years old, but apparently an indication that Iran still can't be trusted. The International Atomic Energy Agency wasn't impressed. Nothing of interest there. But the whole presentation appeared to be designed to give Trump an excuse to go back on the remainder of the deal. I can't help wondering which countries can't be trusted.

Of course, nobody believes that Russia and Iran are innocent. But clearly the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia are also not exactly shining examples of international peace. The real issue is that the reports in the media are clearly one-sided. Why can't I get reliable information from the other side? I've been watching Al Jazeera news, but they're pretty much in line with Western news sources. I've read IRNA from time to time, but somehow there's not very helpful. Oh for a neutral viewpoint!


Saffron crocus
Topic: gardening Link here

As I feared, my Crocus sativus were planted at about the worst possible time. I only covered the bulbs 6 days ago, and already one of them is trying to flower:

 
This should be Crocus-sativus.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Crocus sativus
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 211 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4608, 3427 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 2 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

I wonder how many will survive.


Microsoft camera capture, next attempt
Topic: multimedia, technology Link here

I still haven't managed to get a clean image from Chris Bahlo's dongle on Microsoft. Doesn't the system come with a multimedia program? Ah, right, “Windows” Media Viewer. Can I use that? Off to Google to find many references to windows media player camera. Millions of hits, of course, many pointing to “Media Encoder”, free but not included. Spent a lot of time before checking Wikipedia. “Media Encoder” is an old, worn-out magic word (“discontinued”), now 15 years old. It seems that I should be using Microsoft Expression Encoder.

OK, look at that page. Status: Discontinued. Replacement? Not mentioned.

Sigh Why is this so complicated? Certainly my revulsion to the stuff doesn't help. Put off until my stomach settles.


How much chili?
Topic: food and drink Link here

Yvonne bought some pok choi a while back, so I had to find a way to incorporate it in a dish. In the end tried a sachet of “Mi udang” (prawn noodles) from Tean's Gourmet:

 
This should be Mi-udang.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mi udang
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 507 x 532, 207 kB
Dimensions of original: 3351 x 3517, 3278 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 3 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Is it authentic? Probably. The instructions are in Malay first, then Chinese and only then English. But what a result!

 
This should be Mi-udang.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mi udang
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 524 x 515, 180 kB
Dimensions of original: 3216 x 3158, 2595 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 2 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

It doesn't look bad, but the stuff is so full of chili that Yvonne couldn't eat it. Was Malaysian food always this pedas?


New induction cooktop
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

Finally got round to trying out the new induction cooktop this evening. The good news: it works better than the old one. In particular, it's not nearly as aggressive in its heating patterns, and the lower heating levels are relatively gentle, though I still need to get used to that. It's also much quieter.

In the process, though, I'm left wondering just what I need in any cooktop. Here are some first thoughts.

How far apart should the heating zones be? The zones on this cooker are arranged in a square, so they're all the same distance apart, 29.5 cm. This strange distance is all the more surprising because it's exactly the same as the lateral distance on the gas cooker. But the rear flames on the gas cooker are only 20 cm behind the front flames.

That makes a big difference. I can now put my 32 cm pan next to the 28 cm pan:

 
This should be Cooktop-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cooktop 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 645 x 419, 161 kB
Dimensions of original: 3830 x 2489, 2175 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 3 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The old gas cooker doesn't stand a chance there. The best I can do is on a diagonal, and even then the big pan doesn't fit because the cooktop is too close to the wall:

 
This should be Cooktop-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cooktop 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 631 x 427, 158 kB
Dimensions of original: 3521 x 2385, 2166 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 3 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

It doesn't harm that the induction cooktop is 52 cm deep instead of 50.5 cm for the gas cooktop, so even with this position it would still work.

I can also fit another pot (or two) on the cooktop, though then only an 18 cm pot:

 
This should be Cooktop-6.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cooktop 6
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 654 x 412, 145 kB
Dimensions of original: 4237 x 2672, 2594 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 3 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

That wouldn't work on the gas cooktop in any arrangement.

In passing, it's interesting to note that all these sizes are nominal. In fact, the pans are all at least 5 mm smaller in top diameter, and the “18 cm” pot is in fact 17 cm. But that should just make things easier.

What else? The modern electronic controls are clearly inferior to the old analogue ones. With the gas cooktop, I can turn the flame on and adjust it with one button. To turn the flame on I need to press it, but that's relatively quick, and adjustment is almost instantaneous. With the electronic control, I must first press on the on-off button for at least 2 seconds, then select my zone with one of the symbols, then probably adjust from what it chooses, requiring up to 9 presses of the + button in some cases, which can take up to 3 seconds. If I want to adjust again later, I first need to select the zone again. That's not specific to this cooktop: they're all like that. I wonder how long it will take the manufacturers to realize that this is irritating.

And how even is the heating? I've already noticed that the diameter of the zones is the same for all zones, at 18 cm. That's not good, but it's also not as bad as it might seem. The 32 cm pan has a base diameter of only 23.5 cm and the 28 cm pan has a base diameter of 17.5 cm. But it would be nice to have something wider.

The other issue is how the heat is generated. It seems that this cooktop, like the old one, heats by time division: on for a while, off for a while. This is very obvious with a pan with a bit of water in it, where it boils for a few seconds and then stops again, only to repeat the cycle. I wonder if more expensive models heat by proper modulation of the heat output, like an “inverter” microwave oven.


Thursday, 3 May 2018 Dereel Images for 3 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Off the net again
Topic: technology, general Link here

Coming into the office this morning, discovered that no mail had arrived all night. That's a bad sign, almost certainly that we're off the net. Bloody NBN!

But no, the net was up. My somewhat cryptic status messages looked like this:

1525301987 34.8833 4 0.0 www # Thu 3 May 2018 08:59:47 AEST 17.124 ms
1525302001 32.7086 4 0.0 www # Thu 3 May 2018 09:00:01 AEST 16.925 ms

That tells me that I had a ping time to the next hop of round 17 ms (normal for my fixed wireless link), that there was no packet loss, and (from previous entries) that pings to www.lemis.com were failing, and had been since Wed 2 May 2018 20:51:43 AEST (10:51 UTC).

Off to look at the “dashboard” for the system. System in state SHUTDOWN since 18:34:11, time zone unknown. Entered a ticket and discovered that there had been some host system failure, and that the time zone was UTC—so discovered not quite 8 hours after the system went offline. It wasn't done there, of course; they migrated the VMs to another host, which took its time, and I was back online at 1:32, nearly 15 hours after the failure.

Once again I'm left wondering what to do about this. These things will happen, of course. But why did it take so long for them to notice? Maybe I should set up a second system and put my photos in the cloud.

Did a bit of looking round at that—again—and still came to no solution that was useful, easy and cheap. Vultr have block storage, along with a document describing how to use it as a file system on FreeBSD. That looks straightforward enough, but they want $0.10 per GB, while others, such as DigitalOcean (recommended by Peter Jeremy) and Amazon S3 are closer to $0.025. Peter managed to point me to some documentation that didn't make the ridiculous claim that point and grunt was simple. And certainly the alternative has a learning curve associated with it. I suppose I will have to bite the bullet some time, but I'm left wondering why people make things so complicated nowadays.


Crocus sativus, day 2
Topic: gardening, photography Link here

In fact, the one Crocus sativus flower that I have doesn't look bad:

 
This should be Crocus-sativus-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Crocus sativus 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 450, 208 kB
Dimensions of original: 5197 x 3888, 3880 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 3 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

If it weren't for the weed just below the stigmas, it would be quite a good photo. But that's the only one showing any sign of life, and I fear that the others have died.


More on induction cookers
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

How do current induction cookers work? Yes, I understand the basic principle, but how do they regulate power? The ones I have clearly use switching to generate an average power. The new one cycles every 7 seconds, and it makes me wonder how much use it would be for the very gentle heating for which it claims to be suited.

So: do any induction cooktops regulate power electronically, so-called “inverter” technology? Off to Google, with spectacular lack of success. I did find a number of general guides, including this one from CHOICE (“Australia's leading consumer advocacy group”), which mainly served to confirm my decision not to become a member.

On the positive side, there's a section on “power management”, but it only describes how to avoid overloading the supply circuit (though it may, in passing, explain how my current cooker can get by with only a 25 A circuit). It also mentions a zone diameter of “larger than 21cm [sic]” for larger pans.

But it doesn't mention the issue of ease of control, and it comes up with silly claims like “Digital control readings: Digital readouts give you temperature accuracy”. They do? I haven't even been able to find out how much power they use, and temperature is completely beyond the control of the cooktop. And there's no mention of the distance between the zones. It also claims:

Will an induction cooktop save me money?

When CHOICE compared induction to ceramic cooktops, we found there were no savings over the same period of time. Reduced cooking times may save a little money if you replace your electric cooktop with an induction – but the initial purchase price is still a big investment. However, this may change as they come down in price.

While they're clearly factoring in the price of the cooktop—no longer a significant issue—I'm left with the feeling that they haven't considered the efficiency considerations: there are fewer thermal losses. How much fewer? Hard for me to say, but it's what I would expect people to have tested.


Friday, 4 May 2018 Dereel Images for 4 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Woo hoo! Your password has been revealed
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Twitter today informing me of a potential security breach, and recommending that I change my password.

OK, that makes sense, though I hardly use Twitter, and even if my password were to become public, there's little anybody could do with it except impersonate me on Twitter. But I changed it, and was rewarded with the message

Woo hoo! Your password has been changed!

How exciting! I wonder when these sites will grow up.

That wasn't the only message of that nature today, however. I also received, from Wikipedia:


This should be wikipedia-security.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: wikipedia security          Dimensions:          912 x 296, 68 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 4 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 4 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Friday, 4 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

I've complained in the past about the lack of information that Google gives with its “potential compromise” messages. But this is ridiculous: no information whatsoever. And then there's eBay, who seem to delight in annoying me with password changes. Why do people do this?


Cloud storage: the death of interoperability
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

In principle I'm interested in using cloud storage for my online photos. But how? Currently I store my files in a file system (after all, that's what they're for). But that's an old, worn-out magic word, it seems. Now you access files via a URL that the storage cloud makes up for you, though in some cases it may bear a relationship to the name it had in a file system.

Why? People have invented a whole new set of paradigms to access the storage, and they're not even consistent from one cloud to the next, though there seems to be a tendency for new arrivals on the scene to be at least marginally compatible with Amazon S3. If I take this route, I need to change all my software to use new access methods and path names. And if I decide to change storage provider, I might need to do so again. This is beginning to make the Vultr block storage look more attractive.

People tell me that I'm old fashioned, and that I should move with the times. But this kind of interface reminds me of the Bad Old Days in the 1960s, before people realized that interoperability is Good. Clearly I'm so far behind the times that they're about to lap me. But when?

Did some reading on the subject. This document compares S3 and NFS, noting in particular the improved security in S3. OK, fine, but that's no reason to make things so complicated. As they say:

Your web page can call an NFS file exactly like a local file using only the file path, without even the need to add the full URL

What does this say about perspectives?

But then there's S3Fs, a file system built on top of S3. That makes perfect sense, but it seems to be a niche product, and it's not clear if it'll even be around in a couple of years.

And then Google has “filers”, a replacement for the old, worn-out term “file server”. And the text goes on like that, confusing what should be an intelligible description with terms that need to be learnt:

With Cloud Storage, you can upload and download objects to namespaces, called buckets, which are similar to folders.

Of course, they're replacing bad language with new terms. But how similar is a bucket to a directory? Why do they need a new term? What pitfalls lie in wait if I assume that a bucket is a directory? Do the people who designed this stuff even understand what a directory is, and do they think that a folder is the same thing or something else?


Saturday, 5 May 2018 Dereel Images for 5 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More panorama stitching pain
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Saturday is house photo day. I've been doing this regularly for over 10 years now, and I've been making panoramas with Hugin for over 9. In principle there's not much difference each week.

But things don't always turn out the way I expect. Today things were particularly strange. And for some reason, the errors weren't completely reproducible. Here an example, first what I got, then what it should have been:

 
This should be house-from-ssw-failed.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: house from ssw failed
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 632 x 428, 112 kB
Dimensions of original: 668 x 452, 133 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Saturday, 5 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

This should be house-from-ssw.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: house from ssw          Dimensions:          953 x 283, 136 kB Display location on map
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 5 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 5 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 5 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

How did that happen? tTwo of the images were tunred around, one upside-down and one on its side, shown here:

 
This should be Hugin-4.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hugin 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 693 x 390, 344 kB
Dimensions of original: 2560 x 1440, 4397 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Saturday, 5 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The control point detector (cpfind in this case) seems to have found the control points:

 
This should be Hugin-4-detail-1.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hugin 4 detail 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 598 x 452, 495 kB
Dimensions of original: 262 x 198, 113 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Saturday, 5 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Hugin-4-detail-2.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hugin 4 detail 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 624 x 433, 568 kB
Dimensions of original: 359 x 249, 210 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Saturday, 5 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But because the the image was on its side, things didn't line up. I was able to recover this panorama by adding the images individually, and got a mean error of 0.3 pixel and a maximum of 1.1 pixels, very good indeed. So why did the control point detectors have such difficulty? The only thing I can see is that the criteria for detecting a control point are very different from what I would have used myself.

The other thing to note in the broken image is the change in colour. I prepare my images before stitching so that the exposure and hue all match. But they get changed:


This should be Hugin-5.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hugin 5          Dimensions:          914 x 295, 82 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 5 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 5 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 5 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

The EV values should all be the same (in principle 11.7 would be about right), and the Er and Eb values should all be 1. In particular the big deviation of Er on image 03 explains the funny colours.

This was all done with the “Fast panorama preview” Align button. Should I try the old way, with separate detection and optimization steps? Tried that and ran into even more trouble. Even documenting the bugs is complicated.


Sunday, 6 May 2018 Dereel Images for 6 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Out of two make one
Topic: general Link here

Amber Fitzpatrick is moving house, and she came along today to pick up some giveaways. She has a refrigerator to move, and Yvonne tried to lend her a trolley. Problem: we have two, but one has had a bad repair (damaged bearing), and the other has a tyre with a leak of some form or another. OK, remove the split pins and switch the wheels.

Problem: split pins are not designed to be removed, just cut out. It took me about 5 minutes to finally remove the two, after I had decided that a piece of wire would make a good replacement. And then I discovered that the only good tyre was the one with the faulty bearing! Before I had a trolley with a flat tyre and one with a wobbly wheel. Afterwards I had two half-trolleys:

 
This should be Trolley-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Trolley 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 199 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4608, 5602 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 6 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Trolley-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Trolley 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 603 x 448, 191 kB
Dimensions of original: 4649 x 3456, 6500 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 6 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry


Warning: HostIfNotConnecting
Topic: technology Link here

Another timeout on upgrading eureka, which I have been planning to upgrade for over a year. Tried to fire up eureso, my “next generation” machine. But it didn't resume cleanly: it hung at 97%:

 
This should be Vbox-2.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Vbox 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 404 x 669, 144 kB
Dimensions of original: 351 x 581, 61 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 6 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

What's that? Tried rebooting, but then it didn't come up at all. And other VMs had the same problem, so it looked pretty much like an issue with the environment.

Much messing around, and finally it occurred to me that I may not have had the vboxnet module loaded. And that was the case, at the very least because that module no longer exists. Instead we have vboxnetadp and vboxnetflt. Tried vboxnetadp first:

May  6 12:17:00 eureka kernel: KLD vboxnetadp.ko: depends on vboxnetflt - not available or version mismatch
May  6 12:17:00 eureka kernel: linker_load_file: Unsupported file type

What's that? Spent some time wondering about the version mismatch and the unsupported file type, but finally loaded vboxnetflt, which also doesn't have a man page. But that did the job. Wouldn't it have been easier for the error message to point at that possibility?


Bosch error E:15
Topic: food and drink, general Link here

The third dishwasher load of the day was rather different from the others. I saw water spilling out the corner of the dishwasher. Wiped it up, looked inside, and found the water level much higher than usual. But it pumped the water out, and I was able to establish that the filters were somewhat dirty, though they didn't look completely clogged.

Cleaned the filters, put things back together and turned the dishwasher on again. No go:


This should be Dishwasher-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dishwasher 2          Dimensions:          1154 x 234, 94 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 7 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 7 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Monday, 7 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

Normally the display shows the time, so this was clearly something else. Where's the instruction manual? Ah, dammit, Google for bosch dishwasher error e15, which came up with numerous contradictory explanations and solutions:

  1. This page tells me:

    Error code E15 means, simply, that there is no water in the dishwasher, or that the machine believes there is no water in the machine.

    It goes on to explain:

    Open the dishwasher’s door, and unscrew the four screws holding the front of the door in place. Then slide the door off.

    Problem: there are no obvious 4 screws, just a hinge with no visible screws. A picture would be worth a lot, so move on...

  2. to the next one. This gave the same explanation of the cause, and with a similar explanation of how to fix it. But no photos of the process, just of the dishwasher itself, which looked quite different. So, try the...

  3. next one:

    If your Bosch dishwasher is displaying an E15 error code as you switch your machine on, it’s an indication that there is water sitting in the base of the dishwasher.

    Well, that's certainly a different explanation. But that's about as far as it goes. The next step is “Once the impaired part has been identified and requires replacing, take a look at our extensive range of dishwasher spares”: they're a company that sells spares.

  4. OK, there are more. I was looking for something with photos, so how about this YouTube video?

    It has the great advantage of showing a dishwasher very similar to mine, but it's all Greek to me, and the explanation was very important. About the only word that kept coming up was “apocalypse”, which presumably means to uncover. He spent a lot of time pointing to the left side of the dishwasher, including details that looked almost identical to mine, but I have no idea what he wanted to do.

  5. So on to the next one:

    This one is in a language I understand better: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swabian. And this one also shows a dishwasher similar in appearance to mine. He has a simple solution: pull the dishwasher out from under the work surface, turn it on its side and let the water out.

  6. A little primitive maybe? Here's another one, also in German with a slight northern (Berlin) accent:

    This one looks very close to ours, and he explains how it happened: he put liquid detergent in the dishwasher, and it overflowed. He shows in detail how he took it apart. His method is quite a bit of work.

  7. By this time I had all I needed, but I finally found an explanation in English:

    His method was close to the Swabian one, except that he tipped the dishwasher backwards instead of on its side. Somehow the Swabian method seems more effective.

So: first remove the dishwasher from under the work surface. It proves to be held in place by two badly positioned screws. Assuming that the hoses are long enough, I can then just pull it out and turn it on its side.

But what caused the problem? Was it really just dirty filters? They weren't that dirty. Or did an input valve jam? I'll have to keep an eye on it. One way or another, though, it's not an easy way to fix the problem. That could be as simple as a plug underneath the front of the unit.


Monday, 7 May 2018 Dereel Images for 7 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

How to waste a day
Topic: general, food and drink, opinion Link here

When I was a lad I read a book, the title of which escapes me, relating to “Parkinson's law”, by C._Northcote_Parkinson. The one story that remains in my head is how an old lady can take a whole day to write and post a letter, while a secretary in a company can do the same thing in five minutes (well, this was 50 years ago).

As I approach (or exceed?) the age of the said old lady, I sometimes get the feeling that I'm living proof. But it's not that simple: the secretary would write a significantly shorter letter, and frequently miss the point or omit detail. I started keeping this diary over 55 years ago, and the level of detail I go to has changed in both directions during that time (including a period of nearly 30 years where it dropped to 0).

Today I wrote up my diary for yesterday in detail, and it took up most of the day.

The rest was involved in getting rid of this annoying E:15 error on the dish washer. I was going to take a video, but in the end I couldn't work out how to position the camera, so I gave up. Removed screws for the dish washer, pulled it out, forgot to disconnect the power plug, put out a couple of towels, and turned it on its side, like yesterday's Swabian video.

Surprisingly little water came out. OK, try. E:15 gone! Total time about 5 minutes. Started washing some dishes, and 10 minutes into the cycle I got the error again. By that time it was almost to be expected: for some time there had been a hissing noise that sounded like water running in to the machine.

Good news, bad news. It wasn't my fault for not cleaning the filter. But it's a fault in the machine. OK, call somebody to come and fix it. Yvonne's repairer proved to do washing machines, not dish washers, and he gave her the phone number of Barclays, (03) 5339 9034. Called up there. Yes, we can repair the machine. How about an appointment on 21 May? Two weeks!

OK, we can have it faster (and cheaper): just bring the thing in to them. Yes, we can do that. But it's still likely to be a week or more. What do we do in the meantime?

Round here, my Tandem Computers background came into play: have a hot standby in case one fails. That didn't sound that stupid: we frequently have more to wash than a single dish washer can do, and we have space for it in the laundry (next to the kitchen): put it where the clothes dryer is, and the clothes dryer on top. So we planned to take the old machine in for repair tomorrow and buy a new one (a Whirlpool WFE2B19XAUS, $398 from The Good Guys, who seem to be the only people to know the model: even Whirlpool doesn't. But maybe they're just too polite to steal The Good Guys' thunder) to use until the old one is repaired.

And that took all day! At my consulting rates, the diary entry would have cost considerably more than the old dish washer.


Tuesday, 8 May 2018 Dereel Images for 8 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

The first daffodil of autumn
Topic: gardening Link here

Found outside the front door today:

 
This should be Daffodil.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Daffodil
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 58 kB
Dimensions of original: 4610 x 3456, 1629 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 8 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Daffodil.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Daffodil
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 192 kB
Dimensions of original: 4612 x 3456, 2678 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 9 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

I've become used to bulbs flowering early here, but this must be a record. There may be places in Canada or Scandinavia where they're also just flowering.


Dish washer, day 2
Topic: general, food and drink, opinion Link here

As planned, set to taking our dish washer for repair today and to buying a new one. Things weren't easy. First, we were reminded that we had just dismantled our last two sack trolleys on Sunday. OK, thinking about it, since we're buying a new dish washer, there's no longer any hurry getting the old one repaired. Instead we can enquire where it's likely to be the cheapest. Buy a new sack trolley in town, and we can transport both.

Next, was the Whirlpool WFE2B19XAUS from The Good Guys the best I could find? Did a bit of surfing around and found a couple of others at the same price, but they were strange brands I had never heard of, and there were few details. OK, nothing cheaper, so let's go for the Whirlpool.

Did we say $398? Oh, that was yesterday. We also said “20% off”. So today the price is $498$728.

Huh? Yes, it was on the web page in traditionally small print:

 
This should be GoodGuys-1.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: GoodGuys 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 713 x 378, 133 kB
Dimensions of original: 375 x 199, 34 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 8 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Why $729? Who knows? Is that maybe a fair price? Since nobody else sells it, it's hard to say. On researching on the following day, the price had changed again, the third time in 36 hours, back to $515.

OK, Good Guys have a price guarantee: if you have been quoted a price, it should be good for two weeks. Off into town and spoke with Greg, whom I've seen before, and who made much of the fact that we both had the same name. No, nobody had registered my telephonic reservation yesterday. Much messing around, including (complicated) check if one of the three reserved machines had been reserved for me. No. He came to the conclusion that whoever had taken the call had written it down on a piece of paper for computer entry when he had got his head round the process, and recommended that I be given an invoice number next time.

The real issue was that they no longer had one in stock: I would have to take a display model.

By comparison, honouring the old price was not an issue, and after a good half hour they loaded a bubble-wrapped machine into the car.

Next off to Bunnings to buy the sack trolley and an adapter to run the dish washer off the same tap as the washing machine.

I never cease to be amazed at Bunnings. Cheap sack trolleys are frequently available on special round $30, but there was no special, so the price was $59.00. But for $58.90 I could get a combination thing that could either be a (much more robust) sack trolley or a horizontal trolley with four wheels. So I took that.

And the adapter? The taps look like this:

 
This should be Taps.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Taps
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 449, 98 kB
Dimensions of original: 4615 x 3456, 2242 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 9 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

I wanted a Y piece that allows me to connect two outputs. After 15 minutes of searching, first for the item and then for personnel, the best I could find was an adapter which required removing the tap. There's an alternative, of course: garden hose equipment, which is thread-compatible. But surely there's a saner way.

Back home and tried to remove the old washing machine, which had been installed in a most complicated way. It took us both about 45 minutes to get the hoses in and out of the cupboards, not helped by an oversize leak protection system on the Bosch machine, the complexities of the cupboards, holes that were too small, and somebody (almost certainly my favourite electrician, Jim Lannen) who had put a cable in the visibly inaccessible space between two holes. Here above and below the shelf under the sink after we had finished. The orange cord is a length of baling twine that we used to get the hoses through, and which we now can't remove:

 
This should be Dish-washer-connection-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer connection 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 85 kB
Dimensions of original: 4329 x 3246, 1013 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 10 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Dish-washer-connection-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer connection 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 88 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 1227 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 10 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

I was just about to drill a new hole through the right-hand wall when Yvonne finally managed to get the last hose through the hole. Nearly two days to replace the machine. And somehow it appears to be deeper than the old machine;

 
This should be Dish-washer-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 448 x 602, 146 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4647, 2405 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 9 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry


Whirlpool WFE2B19X: first impressions
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

The first impression of the new dish washer is that it's very similar to the old one. There seems to be a convergence, and much of the internal layout is the same. But first, what do I need to do to get the trays to move smoothly? That's explained in the “DAILY REFERENCE GUIDE”, an abridged version of the USE AND CARE GUIDE (page 6 in the latter):

ADVICE REGARDING THE FIRST TIME USE

After installation, remove the stoppers from the racks and the retaining elastic elements from the upper rack.

OK, that would explain the difficulties moving the upper tray. But where are the “retaining elastic elements”? No illustration. No other mention. There were these red things on the side:

 
This should be Dish-washer-5.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer 5
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 131 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3457, 2272 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 9 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Was that it? No, they weren't elastic, and they didn't just snap out. It turned out that it was the mechanism for adjusting the (by default too low) height of the upper tray. The problem with the hard-to-move tray proved to be that one side had fallen out of the rails.

Next, set (non-existent) water hardness. Like the Bosch machine, it won't allow you to set 0° specifically, and the units are either °dH (a German unit) or °fH (French). And this in a unit with a model number showing that it is intended for Australia.

Setting the water hardness is mind-boggling: turn unit on. Turn unit off. Press the right-hand button (which looks like the Play/still button on a video recorder, but to which the instructions refer to as “Start/Pause” button) for 5 seconds until it beeps. Turn on again. Press the P button to cycle through this display until the correct LED lights:

 
This should be Dish-washer-10-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer 10 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 638 x 424, 130 kB
Dimensions of original: 860 x 571, 152 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 9 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

It seems that the left-most one has the value 1 in the hardness table, and the right-most one has the value 5.

Running the machine is similar: you turn it on and use the P button to cycle through the same display, this time meaning the programme. It's easy enough to read if you have your face at the same level as the display, presumably the conditions under which it was developed. But it's 76 cm above ground level when installed, and even if I kneel it's 50 cm lower than eye level. For those conditions, the non-intuitive icons are too small, and the white on black doesn't help. I took this photo (after many unsuccessful attempts to minimize reflections):


This should be Dish-washer-10.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer 10          Dimensions:          867 x 311, 134 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 9 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 9 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 9 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

It required 3 EV more exposure than this one of the Bosch, taken under identical conditions:


This should be Dishwasher-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dishwasher 2          Dimensions:          1154 x 234, 94 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 7 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 7 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Monday, 7 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

And how messy it looks! I hadn't cleaned either panel before the photo, but this is a machine that I have barely used, compared with one that has been in constant use for 3 years.

I know now that I have to cycle through to the second from right (4 presses every time). These are irritations that aren't necessary. A different inscription on the front plate would help a lot. So would separate buttons for each programme, like the Bosch has on both sides of the display (above):

Yes, the Bosch has 12 push buttons instead of the 6 on the Whirlpool. But is that such a cost factor? It seems that the whole user interface has been badly thought out. The Whirlpool also doesn't tell you how far the cycle has progressed.

And the function? The baskets look very similar, but there are subtle differences. This one might be better than the Bosch for glasses. But it's not designed for plates:

 
This should be Dish-washer-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 605 x 447, 110 kB
Dimensions of original: 4541 x 3354, 1908 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 9 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

There's no way to put in normal size plates: the space isn't wide enough, and they end up at an angle. I'm puzzled about that. Still, things came out from the 30 minute “express” programme as they did from the 29 minute Bosch cycle, and this one also has a pre-wash cycle, so it's not all worse.


More plumbing pain
Topic: general, opinion Link here

While preparing dinner, Yvonne had problems. She turned on the tap in the kitchen: no water.

Damn, what's wrong with the water this time? More pump problems? No, in the bathroom everything worked fine. I had recently repaired the defective head that I had received six months ago. It worked for some time. Could it somehow have been clogged? Took the head off and checked. No, still no water. Then I discovered that the cold water worked; only the hot water was off.

Finally it dawned on me: the tap for the dish washer. There are two, one for hot water and one for cold water, here conveniently hidden behind the drain pipe:

 
This should be Dish-washer-connection-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer connection 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 93 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 1267 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 10 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

So far we have been using the hot water, but that's “not recommended” by the maker, and potentially it is part of the problem, so when I connected the new dish washer, I used the cold water. And I noted that the tap had been on—sloppy plumbers! Of course, I turned the hot tap off.

And that was the problem: the mixer tap is also connected to those taps. Turn on the hot water and all was well.

Really? No, the head was still off. Where's the hose? Retracted into the housing. That's OK: just push it up from beneath. But that just produced the hose, not the ferrule that connected it to the head. That was deep down inside the housing and not directly connected to the hose. Managed to get hold of it with needle-nosed pliers, but I could only pull it so far: there's a step constriction towards the end, and it got caught in that.

How to get it out? Centre the ferrule exactly. Not easy with the hose sticking through it. While thinking about it, idly messed around with my finger, and it came out. But what a mess for nothing!


Wednesday, 9 May 2018 Dereel Images for 9 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More garden work
Topic: gardening Link here

Mick the gardener along today to do what we thought would not take long, but he managed to trim the entire lawn and the space round the water tanks with a whipper-snipper, so he didn't even finish what I had had for him. Now we have a row of lilacs along the north-east part of the garden.

 
This should be Lilac-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Lilac 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 261 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3457, 5275 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 10 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

We'll see how many of them survive. We had more than we expected, so put some along the south-east side of the dog pen, and I planted the last two pieces in a pot to see whether they will survive. I'm pretty sure that they will.

The incomplete garden work included spreading the remaining mulch, which has been lying there in a heap for nearly 3 years. It had acquired a growth, a single large plant which Yvonne classified as ground cover.

 
This should be Ground-cover-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Ground cover 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 268 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3457, 6066 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 10 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Ground-cover-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Ground cover 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 184 kB
Dimensions of original: 4611 x 3456, 2824 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 10 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Mick had removed it, but Yvonne rescued it. Now we're looking for somewhere to (re)plant it.


More daffodils
Topic: gardening Link here

Tuesday's daffodil isn't alone. Here's another in the north garden:

 
This should be Daffodil-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Daffodil 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 226 kB
Dimensions of original: 4610 x 3456, 3463 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 10 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry


Trump: Don't rely on the USA
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

So today Donald Trump did what nobody in his right mind would do: he withdrew the USA from the JPCOA, the agreement under which Iran undertook not to pursue nuclear weapons.

Why? He doesn't know either, it seems. When asked how it would improve security, he didn't answer: he just repeated the assertion that it would improve security.

More and more I get the impression that his view of the world is very narrow, limited to people who live in the same circles as he. Like the Israeli government, his attitude seems to be “the punishments will continue until you like us more”.

The main reasons he quotes seem to be unrelated to the agreement: quoting Benyamin Netanyahu's comedy show last week (“Iran lied to us about the situation before the agreement”), and their manufacture of ballistic weapons (which other countries do too), he decided that it would be safer to have an Iran that no longer agreed not to pursue nuclear weapons than one that did agree.

That's stupid enough by itself. You don't need to look far to see that the whole situation is one-sided. Why aren't they getting Israel to disarm? How are they going to get North Korea to sign an agreement when they've just torn up the last one of this nature? What is the world going to think of making agreements with the USA if he can just tear them up if he doesn't like them?

Yes, some people point out, correctly, that this wasn't a signed and ratified treaty, just an agreement. But that's not the way the rest of the world sees it, and Iran abode by the conditions, more than the USA did. Since when is no agreement better than a partial agreement?

The interesting thing is that so far all the other parties, Iran included, are willing to continue the deal, though there are complications. It seems that the USA will try to penalize any company doing business with Iran. And they can: these companies also do business in the USA. Even if there might be some companies who do (I can see a number of companies being formed to do business only with Iran), the threat will dissuade the majority.

I can see things getting worse in the course of time. How long will it be before the USA is sidelined by the rest of the world?


Thursday, 10 May 2018 Dereel Images for 10 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Repairing the dish washer
Topic: general Link here

So we have a functioning dish washer again. Time to repair the old one. That won't be fun, and it occurred to me that since the problem occurred, I had considered the possibility that the problem was related to the hot water input: a likely candidate for the problem is a sticking water inlet valve. What if it still works fine with cold water? If we took it in for repair, not only would it be a waste of money, it would be a waste of more money than necessary, because the technician would not be able to find the problem.

OK, that's (now) straightforward enough: wheel it into the laundry, where we intend to put it anyway, and try it out. Did that and... it worked!

That can have many reasons, of course. It could be coincidence, it could be that my guess was correct, or it could be that the problem is sporadic. For the time being we can leave it there until the problem manifests itself again.


Towards middle east peace
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Yesterday presumed Iranian forces bombed illegal Israeli military bases in Syria (or, as the Times of Israel puts it, “Iranian forces fire 20 rockets at Israel”). No casualties, and clearly this was in retaliation for Israeli aggression in Syria. So Israel responded with fire and fury against legal Iranian intelligence sites in Syria, as the Times reports.

Bad Iran! Poor Israel! How could they do such a thing?

How indeed? It's really hard to blame Iran (except for maybe miscalculating the response). They're in Syria legally, on invitation of the government, going about the activities to which they have been invited. Yes, of course the Syrian government is despicable, but there are questions of international law. Either you declare war on Syria, you negotiate with them, or you put up with what they're doing.

Israel, on the other hand, is continually breaching human rights. Instead of looking for peace with their immediate neighbours, they're encroaching on their land, putting them under siege, shooting civilians dead while unarmed in their own country, and continuing to occupy lands despite UN security council resolutions calling upon them to withdraw. And they built the military bases in exactly this last occupied territory, which really belongs to Syria. It's not hard to see how Iran could call this protecting Syria from Israel, though it's clear that that was not the reason.

Ah, I'm being anti-Semitic, am I not? Of course not. Anti-Semitism is real, but that doesn't mean that you can't disagree with Semitic people without being Anti-Semitic. This is a question of international law. And of course Iran is not blameless.

More to the point, though, it happened almost immediately after Donald Trump cancelled the JCPOA in the name of peace. Now Israel fears no retaliation. Bravo!


Friday, 11 May 2018 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 11 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Flooding!
Topic: general Link here

It has been raining for a couple of days now. Yesterday morning we registered 15 mm of rain, and this morning it was 30. The front of the house was correspondingly wet:

 
This should be Floods-5.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Floods 5
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 442 x 611, 203 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4778, 6278 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The self-priming drain pump didn't, and it took me several attempts until it grudgingly cleared itself.

On the other side of the house, the water tanks are full:

 
This should be Floods-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Floods 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 184 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4608, 2929 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

A good thing that I finally put a cover over the water pump (blue cylinder on the left).

And just as we thought it was all over, we found a flood in the laundry:

 
This should be Floods-6.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Floods 6
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 448 x 602, 136 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4644, 7160 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

That's where we had put the “leaking” dish washer. But we hadn't been running it. Where did the water come from? It proved to be from the washing machine. We had moved the drain hose from the designated hole in the corner of the laundry sink and hung it over the edge of the sink so that we could connect the drain hose from the dish washer:

 
This should be Dish-washer-drain.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer drain
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 115 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4608, 2388 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Saturday, 12 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

And the sink drain had been plugged, so the water overflowed. Understandable, but why do these things all happen at once?


Huevos a la tigre again
Topic: food and drink Link here

Another experiment today with huevos a la tigre. This time I modified things somewhat. Here the exact values; I've updated the recipe for more plausible quantities.

quantity       ingredient       step
210 g       potatoes       1
73 g       onions       1
10 g       garlic       1
50 g       chorizo, cooked and sliced       1
      oil or fat to fry       1
60 g       tomatoes       2
36 g       capsicum       2
8 g       salt       2
1 g       chili powder       2
40 g       peas       3
2       eggs       4

The result? Too much. And there was too much chili powder, too; about half would be sufficient. But frying instead of grilling is definitely the way to go, and it's also a lot easier:

 
This should be Heuvos-a-la-tigre-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Heuvos a la tigre 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 538 x 502, 142 kB
Dimensions of original: 3377 x 3153, 1768 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry


More plumbing and protection for Yvonne
Topic: animals, general Link here

Into town today through the pouring rain, mainly to look for protective riding vests for Yvonne, but while we were there took another look for pipe adapters for the second dish washer, this time in the garden department of Bunnings. To my surprise I found a large number of “just what I need”, and in the end we picked up this adapter:

 
This should be Four-way-adapter-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Four way adapter 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 714 x 378, 140 kB
Dimensions of original: 4480 x 2370, 2570 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

A third tap makes sense for the dog bath, and though we found three way adapters, they were considerably more expensive than the four way adapters, so we got one of them instead, with the added bonus of a couple of hose attachments, just what we need for the dog bath.

Then on to what I thought were horse trials at the Ballarat Pony Club, an association with two web sites, but I can't find anything to establish what the event really was. The horses we saw there were definitely not ponies.

The weather was still foul, and we had a lot of difficulty finding our way in: no signage, mud and slush, but finally we found our way to the club house, where Michelle Nichols of Southern Star Saddlery had a tiny 3×3 tent full of equipment. Yvonne tried on a couple of body protectors. The first was just (carefully thought out) padding:

 
This should be Riding-vest-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Riding vest 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 610 x 442, 166 kB
Dimensions of original: 4765 x 3456, 2832 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Yvonne didn't like it: it was uncomfortable and constricting. So Michelle came up with the Point Two Pro Air Jacket, effectively an airbag for riders. It contains a cylinder of carbon dioxide which is opened by a jerk on a safety line

 
This should be Riding-vest-7.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Riding vest 7
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 140 kB
Dimensions of original: 3457 x 4608, 3607 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Riding-vest-9.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Riding vest 9
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 443 x 611, 149 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4765, 2719 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

She liked that a lot more, despite the price: $790. But it seems a small price for saving lives. Michelle didn't have any in stock, so we have time to consider it.


Another day of dish washer annoyance
Topic: general Link here

Back home, put the water adapter in place, not without difficulty: the threads appear to be poorly cut, and I needed a pipe wrench to put it in place, when fingers should have been enough. But try as I might, I couldn't get the hose for the dish washer to connect. The hose for the washing machine was no problem. On closer examination, I discovered that the thread starts about 2 mm from the end of the connector:

 
This should be Dish-washer-adapter-3-DMap.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer adapter 3 DMap
Display location on map
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 449, 128 kB
Dimensions of original: 5191 x 3888, 3311 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Saturday, 12 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Dish-washer-adapter-5.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dish washer adapter 5
Display location on map
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 450, 174 kB
Dimensions of original: 5194 x 3888, 4304 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Saturday, 12 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Apparently the ring at the end is part of the tap, so I can't just file it off. And dish washer water hoses have some kind of leak protection inside, which limits the amount of thread available when connecting to a tap. For some reason washing machines don't have this inside, so I was able to connect it. Potentially I could press harder to connect it, but potentially I could also damage the plastic thread, and I'd guess that this hose is particularly expensive. So back the adapter goes.

Why is this all so complicated?


More STF-8 fun
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Somehow I'm not really making friends with my Olympus STF-8 macro flash unit. Today I put it on the camera to take a focus stack of the thread on the water adapter—and it turned off the flash function in the camera. I haven't had that before, and it made it completely useless for taking the photos.

Further investigation shows that focus stacking and TTL flash are (currently) incompatible, and the camera simply turns flash off, though I could select manual modes. But then the lack of a test flash button means that I can't measure the light output. It's just plain easier with the old, el-cheapo Viltrox JY-670 Macro Ring Lite.

And then there's the issue of shadows. A ring light is supposed to eliminate them, but the STF-8 isn't a ring light. It does come with diffusers over the flash heads, though. A lot of good they do. Which is the one with the diffuser?

 
This should be Four-way-adapter-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Four way adapter 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 705 x 382, 134 kB
Dimensions of original: 4538 x 2462, 2653 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Four-way-adapter-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Four way adapter 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 714 x 378, 140 kB
Dimensions of original: 4480 x 2370, 2570 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 11 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

It's the second one, but I only know that because I kept notes. I can't see any difference.

What a waste of money.


Weekend dinner on Friday
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Margaret Swan is in town, so we're limited to fish and vegetarian food for the weekend meal. Yvonne chose trout, which she bought on Wednesday. She had concerns that it wouldn't stay fresh enough until Saturday, so we had our dinner today, where Margaret showed her disdain for convention by drinking a red Côtes du Rhone with the fish. And yes, the fish was more than fresh enough for truites à la meunière.


Saturday, 12 May 2018 Dereel Images for 12 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Quo vadis Israel?
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Seventy years ago a dream came true for many Jewish people: the State of Israel was formed, displacing many of the previous inhabitants in violation of the Balfour declaration. But the inhabitants had repeatedly attacked the peace-loving Jews.

Israel rapidly became the most modern country in the region. That's understandable, since the inhabitants had emigrated from European countries, where many had been highly educated people. They formed a modern democracy, while the Arabs around them were barely educated. Small wonder that the Arabs hated the Jews: they took their land and made it so much better than they had ever been able to do.

Attacks continued, and apart from being a modern democratic state, Israel also became heavily armed. In 1967 there was a war with the neighbouring countries, in which Israel achieved a decisive victory. They also took the opportunity to occupy the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the West Bank of the Jordan and, much more importantly, the third most holy site in Islam, the Haram esh-Sharif.

And then? Israel had demonstrated their military might, and there were few further Arab attacks (the Yom Kippur War comes to mind, but that, too, was won by Israel). Then there were international efforts to normalize relationships: friends don't invade each other. But that was only partially successful, and Israel not only delayed handing back the occupied territories, they built heavily fortified settlements on them in defiance of international law.

Round here it gets difficult to believe in their good faith. If they want normalization of relationships, they need to make friends, not enemies. But they have one strong friend, the USA, who have a veto in the United Nations Security Council, which enables them to flout condemnation after condemnation. Without that backing, they would never have got away with what they have done. And instead of liberating the occupied territories, they treat the inhabitants there like Untermenschen, something particularly shameful for people of their background.

A couple of years ago it looked as if the USA had had enough, and they did abstained from the vote on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which states that Israel's settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law and has “no legal validity”. The resolution thus passed otherwise unanimously.

But that was an old, worn-out president. Then Donald Trump came to power and backed Israel as much as possible, performing silly actions like moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem (and not specifically West Jerusalem). I doubt that Trump understood what he was doing there, but that's no excuse.

Thus emboldened, Israel has become even more rabid. It boggles the mind that they can claim that shooting unarmed people on their own territory can be in Israel's national interest, let alone self-defence. And their repeated violations of their neighbours' territorial integrity, most recently to destroy observation posts in Syria, is just plain illegal. Even their excuse (“Iran attacked Israel”) is wrong on at least one count: whoever did the attack targeted illegal Israeli posts on Syrian territory, the Golan Heights. And so far I haven't seen any evidence that this was an Iranian action. That's not their style, though they may have instigated it.

Where do we go from here? In three days it will be Nakba Day, the day after the 70th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Israel. What will happen then? How will this continue? For peace' sake somebody should restrain Israel.

And how democratic is Israel still? There are currently efforts under way to weaken the Israeli Supreme Court. For some reason, none of this has got the attention of the world press, but it's a worrying development.

Looking back, I'm beginning to wonder whether my goodwill towards Israel was not a little formed by press opinion, even 50 years ago. They violated the territorial integrity of their neighbours then too, without declaring war. And other “good guy” countries currently include Saudi Arabia, known for extreme violations of human rights and warfare in Yemen. On the other hand, Iran is the bad guy because they—shudder—manufacture ballistic weapons and have explored the possibility of nuclear weapons. Fine, upstanding countries like Israel would never do that!


The pleasure of two dish washers
Topic: food and drink, general Link here

The morning after the weekly Big Meal has lots of dishes to wash. But now we have two dish washers! Managed to fill both of them, and still had stuff left over.

The Bosch machine once again worked without a problem, but the location is really not ideal. In addition, I need to think of how to partition the load between the two machines. Fill and run them alternatively? Glasses and plates in one, cooking vessels in the other? It'll take me a while to decide.


Sunday, 13 May 2018 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Induction cooking surges
Topic: food and drink, general Link here

Boiling some noodles today was a good example of the “surging” that the new ALDI “Stirling SICT60” induction cooker does on lower levels, here 5 out of 9:

I find that irritating, and it would be worth paying more money for a cooktop that was more even. But how can I find out in advance?


More planting
Topic: gardening Link here

I got an exchange for the incorrectly packaged Crocus sativus on Tuesday, a bag of tulips. Today I got round to planting them, three in the new bed in front of the shade area, and the other 3 in front of my bedroom window. Also planted a Cyathea cooperi, a kind of tree fern that Yvonne bought a while back. I had no idea where to put it, but it was clearly calling out to be planted. We'll see how it fares.


Monday, 14 May 2018 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Spare ribs sous vide
Topic: food and drink, multimedia, opinion Link here

For weeks I've had a rack of pork ribs in the freezer waiting for a recipe. Today was the day. It seems that there are two basic recipes, one Western, one Chinese.

Which should I try? I really don't have much of an idea. One of the issues is clearly getting the ribs tender enough despite the large quantity of connective tissue. Sous-vide? After some searching I found The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous Vide Barbecue Pork Ribs, which goes into the kind of detail I was looking for.

But the recipe itself was less inspiring. They write “See the full recipe here for exact measurements”, but they lie. The recipe contains quantities like “2 whole racks St. Louis-cut pork ribs”, without specifying a weight, and, for example, “1/3 cup paprika, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 cup kosher salt”.

Yes, I know that a US American cup is 236.6 ml, or maybe 238 ml, or then again perhaps 240 ml. But how much does it weigh? That depends on the consistency, and with the exception of “kosher salt” they don't say that. On the other hand, you could expect 60 ml of salt to weigh more than 40 g, and that's a lot for “two mumble pork ribs”.

And then there are the ingredients. Garlic salt? Not in this household. “Red pepper”? Clearly it's not “Paprika”, because that's there too. But probably too pedas for Yvonne. Kosher salt? In the past it took me a long time to understand the term. All salt is kosher, but kosher salt is very coarse salt intended to take the moisture out of meat to make it kosher. But why do you need coarse salt for a marinade?

In the end I guessed, and came up with the following quantities for the marinade (if that's the right word for a dry collection of spices):

quantity       ingredient       step
700 g       pork spare ribs       1
7 g       paprika powder (edelsüß)       2
15 g       brown sugar       2
5 g       salt       2
10 g       garlic       2
7.5 g       coriander       2
2 g       pepper       2
5 g       yellow mustard seed       2
1.5 g       oregano, dried       2

And then? Next come 24 hours cooking sous vide. I chose a temperature of 67°.

By sheer coincidence, in the evening we saw an episode of “Young Sheldon” which included a recipe for smoked brisket. It was, in fact, very similar, and I later discovered (on reading) that this recipe is a modified recipe for smoked pork ribs (it did include, optionally, “liquid smoke”, which also sounds dubious). We'll find out tomorrow.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018 Dereel Images for 15 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Panic! fsck! fsck! fsck! FSCK!
Topic: technology Link here

Backing up photos this morning had a funny twist at the end. Normally it ends with something like:

sent 25,416,008 bytes  received 167 bytes  44,707.43 bytes/sec
total size is 5,457,064,167,617  speedup is 214,708.32
Filesystem 1048576-blocks      Used     Avail Capacity   iused     ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/da2p1      7,629,565 4,632,938 2,920,331    61% 1,607,294 1,636,352   50%   /photobackup
Tue 15 May 2018 13:34:52 AEST Photo backup started
Tue 15 May 2018 13:44:55 AEST Photo backup ended

But today it hung after the df output. Why? Flushing buffers to the disk? The script umounts the disk after the df, so that would be the time. But no, nothing. And gradually the rest of the system hung as well.

After about 5 minutes, the system reset and rebooted. fsck! One of the disadvantages of my current setup is that for some reason the /home file system requires an fsck at startup, and due to the size of the file system it takes about 50 minutes. /home uses soft updates, which should mean that fsck is deferred until after system startup, but that doesn't work for reasons that I will investigate if I ever get round to upgrading the system. And, as so often, I got:

 
This should be fsck-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: fsck 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 694 x 389, 111 kB
Dimensions of original: 4008 x 2249, 1022 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

This should be fsck-1-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: fsck 1 detail          Dimensions:          1615 x 167, 81 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 15 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 15 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 15 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

OK, no need to continue with that, so I ran fsck manually. fsck! And as so often, it also discovered problems:

 
This should be fsck-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: fsck 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 580 x 465, 82 kB
Dimensions of original: 3378 x 2709, 591 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

This should be fsck-4-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: fsck 4 detail          Dimensions:          1040 x 259, 67 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 15 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 15 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 15 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

That's the same directory. fsck! But that ran through: the repeat is due to a race condition where certain problems require a repeat of an earlier phase, and the second time through is almost invariably successful. On thinking about the matter, it seems that maybe it would have been a better idea to let the first fsck complete rather than start the manual fsck.

Finally it was done, and I was back to the single-user prompt. To be on the safe side, let's reboot. And it found the file system still dirty. FSCK! Does reboot not sync before rebooting? I have some recollection about that from the bad old System V days, but the man page doesn't say anything one way or the other. Note to grog: check the code.

And this time it fsck'ed the photo disk as well. Normally I do that after booting. Could it be that there's some other condition that must be fulfilled for online fsck? Note to grog: check the code.

After reboot, discovered that the system had paniced:

FreeBSD eureka.lemis.com 10.2-STABLE FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE #2 r290972: Wed Nov 25 11:38:38 AEDT 2015     grog@stable.lemis.com:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/GENERIC  amd64

panic: softdep_deallocate_dependencies: dangling deps

(kgdb) #0  doadump (textdump=<value optimized out>) at pcpu.h:219
#1  0xffffffff80946582 in kern_reboot (howto=260)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/kern_shutdown.c:455
#2  0xffffffff80946965 in vpanic (fmt=<value optimized out>,
    ap=<value optimized out>)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/kern_shutdown.c:762
#3  0xffffffff809467f3 in panic (fmt=0x0)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/kern_shutdown.c:691
#4  0xffffffff80b84baa in softdep_deallocate_dependencies (
    bp=<value optimized out>)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/ufs/ffs/ffs_softdep.c:14099
#5  0xffffffff809cfe15 in brelse (bp=0xfffffe07c82d7518) at buf.h:428
#6  0xffffffff809e83b7 in flushbuflist (bufv=<value optimized out>,
    flags=<value optimized out>, bo=0xfffff803c5940db8,
    slpflag=<value optimized out>, slptimeo=0)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/vfs_subr.c:1453
#7  0xffffffff809e802b in bufobj_invalbuf (bo=0xfffff803c5940db8, flags=1,
    slpflag=0, slptimeo=0)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/vfs_subr.c:1329
#8  0xffffffff809ea98e in vgonel (vp=<value optimized out>)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/vfs_subr.c:1390
#9  0xffffffff809eae2c in vgone (vp=0xfffff803c5940ce8)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/vfs_subr.c:2731
#10 0xffffffff808288a8 in devfs_delete (dm=0xfffff80014041100,
    de=0xfffff8066d402200, flags=<value optimized out>)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/fs/devfs/devfs_devs.c:390
#11 0xffffffff80828d1c in devfs_populate_loop (dm=0xfffff80014041100,
    cleanup=<value optimized out>)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/fs/devfs/devfs_devs.c:528
#12 0xffffffff80828b0a in devfs_populate (dm=0xfffff80014041100)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/fs/devfs/devfs_devs.c:647
#13 0xffffffff8082ce2b in devfs_populate_vp (vp=0xfffff800143961d8)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/fs/devfs/devfs_vnops.c:234
#14 0xffffffff8082d77c in devfs_lookup (ap=0xfffffe085d0e05a8)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/fs/devfs/devfs_vnops.c:1015
#15 0xffffffff80e70631 in VOP_LOOKUP_APV (vop=<value optimized out>,
    a=<value optimized out>) at vnode_if.c:129
#16 0xffffffff809dee21 in lookup (ndp=0xfffffe085d0e0870) at vnode_if.h:54
#17 0xffffffff809de584 in namei (ndp=0xfffffe085d0e0870)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/vfs_lookup.c:302
#18 0xffffffff809f782d in vn_open_cred (ndp=0xfffffe085d0e0870,
    flagp=0xfffffe085d0e094c, cmode=<value optimized out>,
    vn_open_flags=<value optimized out>, cred=0xfffff8051db36a00,
    fp=0xfffff804b7f350a0)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/vfs_vnops.c:264
#19 0xffffffff809f0f4f in kern_openat (td=0xfffff80175d244a0, fd=-100,
    path=0x80980e040 <Address 0x80980e040 out of bounds>,
    pathseg=UIO_USERSPACE, flags=1, mode=<value optimized out>)
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/kern/vfs_syscalls.c:1091
#20 0xffffffff80d4a05f in amd64_syscall (td=0xfffff80175d244a0, traced=0)
    at subr_syscall.c:141
#21 0xffffffff80d2f31b in Xfast_syscall ()
    at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/amd64/amd64/exception.S:396

That's out of devfs_delete(), which suggests that it relates to the external disk that I was just umounting. But that doesn't match being called through namei. Should I look at the dump?


Garden flowers in late autumn
Topic: gardening Link here

Middle of the month, and late autumn: time for my monthly garden photos. We've been here for over 3 years now, and it's interesting to compare these photos with the ones I took three years after moving into Kleins Road.

It has been relatively cool lately, but a number of things are still blooming. The last of the Cannas are still flowering:

 
This should be Canna-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Canna 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 222 kB
Dimensions of original: 3457 x 4608, 4296 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Canna-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Canna 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 102 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4609, 1574 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Canna-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Canna 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 72 kB
Dimensions of original: 4610 x 3456, 1783 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

There's even one last Clematis that isn't quite dead yet:

 
This should be Clematis.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Clematis
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 161 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4609, 2887 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

And the last roses of summer have long outlived that season:

 
This should be Rose-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rose 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 272 kB
Dimensions of original: 4610 x 3456, 5571 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Rose-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rose 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 606 x 446, 275 kB
Dimensions of original: 4694 x 3456, 6536 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Rose-7.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rose 7
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 145 kB
Dimensions of original: 4610 x 3456, 3157 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Rose-5.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rose 5
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 161 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 3190 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Rose-6.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rose 6
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 158 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4610, 2455 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

A number of flowers are showing signs of not having had enough water in the summer. The Alyssum that looked so unhappy in February now seems to have completely recovered:

 
This should be Alyssum.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Alyssum
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 602 x 449, 239 kB
Dimensions of original: 4635 x 3456, 7827 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 16 February 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Alyssum.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Alyssum
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 238 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 7045 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

And the Strelitzia reginae are finally looking almost ready to flower:

 
This should be Strelitzia-reginae.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Strelitzia reginae
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 148 kB
Dimensions of original: 3457 x 4608, 2671 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

I don't expect them to flower this year. But then, last month I hadn't expected the Hibiscus in the garden to flower, and all the buds did. It's now more or less done flowering. Here later last month and today:

 
This should be Hibiscus.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus
Display location on map
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 81 kB
Dimensions of original: 4609 x 3456, 1666 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 26 April 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Hibiscus-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 124 kB
Dimensions of original: 4610 x 3456, 2672 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Hibiscus-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 181 kB
Dimensions of original: 4610 x 3456, 2953 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Another group of shrubs that seem to be flowering late, probably also because of the watering issues, are the Hebes.

 
This should be Hebe-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hebe 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 206 kB
Dimensions of original: 4610 x 3456, 3501 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Hebe-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hebe 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 154 kB
Dimensions of original: 4610 x 3456, 3094 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

On the other hand, I think that now is the correct time for the Senna aciphylla, which has already flowered once this year:

 
This should be Senna-aciphylla-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Senna aciphylla 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 269 kB
Dimensions of original: 4609 x 3456, 8048 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Senna-aciphylla-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Senna aciphylla 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 157 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 3385 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

One of the more puzzling things are the Tropaeolums. These have been there for nearly 3 years, and have hardly grown. Here two years ago and today:

 
This should be Tropaeolum-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tropaeolum 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 304 kB
Dimensions of original: 4609 x 3456, 5120 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 15 May 2016:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Tropaeolum-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tropaeolum 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 279 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 7563 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

On the other hand, the ones I planted this spring along with the climbing roses have also climbed considerably. The flowers in the second photo are about 1.2 m above ground:

 
This should be Tropaeolum-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tropaeolum 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 606 x 446, 258 kB
Dimensions of original: 4694 x 3456, 7038 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Tropaeolum-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tropaeolum 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 155 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 3063 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

I have some significant concerns about the soil south of the house.

At the other end of the year, more spring bulbs are flowering:

 
This should be Daffodil-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Daffodil 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 178 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4609, 2695 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Daffodil-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Daffodil 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 56 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 1819 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

And the various hedges around the front of the house are also showing signs of growth:

 
This should be Adenanthos-sericeus.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Adenanthos sericeus
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 202 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4608, 4548 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Hebe-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hebe 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 231 kB
Dimensions of original: 3456 x 4609, 5982 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The Carpobrotus that we planted in the island in the entrance 17 months ago has really taken over the island:

 
This should be House-entrance-2-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: House entrance 2 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 748 x 361, 95 kB
Dimensions of original: 1722 x 832, 282 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 18 December 2016:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Carpobrotus-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Carpobrotus 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 224 kB
Dimensions of original: 4609 x 3456, 6456 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Both it and the smaller version are flowering now, rather unusually.

 
This should be Carpobrotus-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Carpobrotus 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 284 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 6564 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Carpobrotus-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Carpobrotus 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 246 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 5412 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Maybe it's related to the watering.


Spare ribs sous vide: the proof of the pudding
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Cooking the ribs suffered a setback overnight: the sous-vide cooker turned itself off, and by morning the temperature was back to 22°. Warmed it up again, faster than I expected, and carried on until evening.

And then? Looking at the photos in the article, the difference between 16 and 24 hours didn't seem to make much difference, so I decided to do it anyway.

Next, the recipe goes on to suggest baking for between 20 and 40 minutes at 150°. With that treatment, you hardly need to cook them sous-vide. I decided to do it until the surface was dry, which took about 10 minutes. I also did it at a more traditional 180°, which may have been a mistake.

The result?

 
This should be Spare-ribs.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Spare ribs
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 556 x 485, 130 kB
Dimensions of original: 3328 x 2904, 2208 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 15 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Not bad, but for my liking a bit dry and uninteresting. How do I improve it? Lower temperature all round would be one thing to do, and a different marinade (Chinese?) would be another. But Yvonne decided that she still doesn't like ribs, and it seems that nothing I can do can change that opinion, so it's probably one that got away.


Wednesday, 16 May 2018 Dereel Images for 16 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Ransomware!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

CJ Ellis showed up this afternoon with the news that he had been targeted by ransomware a year ago, and hadn't bothered to tell me. Instead he had paid to have it unlocked. That's bad enough, but now they came and told him that the unlocking was only for one year, and now they wanted more money.

The interesting thing is that they had given him a lot of company contact details, and he had written them down. I scanned in the information: a company calling itself “Web Security Experts”, also “Kastra Logic” (not surprisingly marked as a scammer), with a phone number 1800-815-923, support email info@klogicsupport.com, also a web site http://www.helpme.net/ and a Facebook number (whatever that means). For his money he was promised 1 year of technical support and 3 years of security. . In return he paid his money and gave them the admin password for his machine.

OK, we have two ways of looking at this: there's a good chance that they've planted some malware on his machine, so the correct thing to do is to reinstall the system from scratch. I'm pretty sure he doesn't have anything of importance stored on his machine, so that's a possibility. But it's also a pain, so for the first we changed all his passwords. If he still has problems, we can still reinstall.

Of course, the first thing after changing the passwords was to confirm that they were correct. So I tried logging into Gmail with the new password. Not quite what I expected:

 
This should be Google-security-3.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Google security 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 482 x 561, 80 kB
Dimensions of original: 434 x 505, 30 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 16 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

What does it mean, it doesn't recognize this “device”? It's the one I've been using all along. OK, move on to another browser, and that worked. But why is Google such a pain?

As if to prove the point, CJ called me up later with the information that somebody in the USA had tried to access his account:

 
This should be Google-security-2.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Google security 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 490 x 551, 115 kB
Dimensions of original: 656 x 738, 83 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 16 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

In the USA? That must be the ransomware provider. Do we have a domain name?

=== grog@www (/dev/pts/0) ~ 1 -> host 45.63.116.55
55.116.63.45.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer ffm.lemis.com.

That's my machine in Germany. Why is it telling me that it's in the USA? What do geographic services claim?


This should be IP2Location-1.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: IP2Location 1          Dimensions:          918 x 294, 86 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 16 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 16 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 16 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

That's completely correct. The site also offered the location of my home IP address for free:


This should be IP2Location-2.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: IP2Location 2          Dimensions:          946 x 286, 93 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 16 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 16 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 16 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

So why does Google get it so completely wrong? It puts my home address in Melbourne, 130 km away, while others can trace it at least to the Ballarat POI. But that's peanuts compared to getting the wrong continent.

Still, with that it's easier to decipher the puzzling “don't recognize your device” message. That browser uses ffm as a proxy. But instead of saying “we don't recognize your (proxy) IP address”, they say that they don't recognize the device. And how does this work with mobile phones?

Once Google was at the forefront of technology, and in many ways it probably still is. But there's an amazing amount of cruft that they're not fixing. 11 years ago I found their maps irritatingly inaccurate, but they haven't really improved things much. And the smart phone generation seem to think that it's wonderful, completely ignoring the fact that things were once much better. O tempora! O mores!


Grinding pets
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

A week or so ago we received a nail grinder for the dogs, since we had had our fun cutting the nails. It seems to work OK, but today I came across the envelope that it came in and read more carefully:


This should be Grinding-machine-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Grinding machine detail          Dimensions:          953 x 283, 48 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 16 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 16 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 16 May 2018 Complete exposure details

   
This should be Grinding-machine.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Grinding machine
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 427 x 633, 66 kB
Dimensions of original: 1554 x 2304, 441 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 16 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The mind boggles,


ANZ: We don't like you
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yvonne wanted to pay for something via the ANZ web banking service today. For the first time ever, they came up with one of these really stupid “security questions”: “Where was your wedding reception held?”. Yvonne didn't enter anything, just pressed “Continue”. Wrong, Fool! Your account has been blocked!

Clearly this isn't something that anybody would do with intent to defraud, though it's a good way to ensure denial of service. So we called up and asked for the account to be unblocked. Spoke to IB (that's what he said his name was), who asked all sorts of questions which are easy to answer when online, and very difficult otherwise. He also refused to let me hear the questions that he was asking a by now terrified Yvonne.

Why is this so difficult? The “security questions” are just plain stupid (though Yvonne's answers are not guessable): the answers need to be entered exactly as written, including capitalization and punctuation, so they need to be saved in a file. I have no idea how people can use them with mobile phones. Put in yet another complaint—I think. IB gave me a reference number for the call and said that he would enter the complaint. I wonder if he will.


Thursday, 17 May 2018 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Buying second-hand cameras
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

For nostalgia's sake, I've been thinking for some time of buying an Edixa SLR, like the ones I had in the 1960s. They pop up on eBay from time to time, usually in pretty rough condition: despite being German, the quality was never good, as I noted shortly after I bought it over 50 years ago. Nowadays it's almost impossible to find one where the leatherette coating on the body isn't peeling off.

The last one went away for far too much money. But then it came again. It took me a while to recognize that it wasn't the same camera. Here the last one and this one:

Both of them come with a waist-level finder (shown on the first camera) and a pentaprism (shown on the second camera), so that difference in appearance is not significant. But the lens Steinheil Cassar 50/2.8) is the same in each case, and I had to compare the serial numbers to confirm that they are in fact different cameras.

They wanted $95, which is pretty much my limit, so I waited to see if there were any bids. No, and the auction ended today. So off to JustSnipe to put a snipe on it. Network error. But somehow it wasn't complete: I was able to place a snipe. But then it occurred to me that eBay had once again forced me to change my password. So I needed to fix that. Network error. And I couldn't get through.

Dammit, there are other snipers, including Gixen. Why didn't I use that? I see I had login details. But they were old, worn-out magic words, and I had to register again. Lots of noise, and when I finally found out how to snipe, I was placed in a 60 s wait loop. Finally that worked, and I placed my snipe. But unlike JustSnipe, they don't update the page automatically, and I couldn't find a way to do so manually.

Watching the last seconds. Yes, I won. Which snipe? JustSnipe just said Network error, and Gixen didn't say anything. I couldn't find a page to give me further information. They have a history function, but you have to pay for it! It wasn't until much later, when I logged in again, that I confirmed what I had expected, that Gixen had placed the winning snipe. JustSnipe just said “Error #20000”. If I could rely on JustSnipe, they're clearly the better choice.


Human rights violations: their fault, not ours
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

The recent violence in Israel and Gaza has really upset me. How can a country that claims to be democratic commit such atrocities, such flagrant violations of human rights? Especially Israel, whose founders were subject to such atrocities themselves!

There was question about the matter on Quora. Do you think that the deaths of 60 Palestinians and the injury of over 1500 others in the last few days is the direct result of Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem?

No, of course not. The deaths of the Palestinians are due to IDF snipers firing on them. That's a completely separate issue, and that's how I answered. But that's not how many answered. “No they are a result of HAMAS actions, and also Hamas taking pot shots at their own people to encourage them to be more violent”, “The deaths are a direct result of incitement by the Palestinian leadership”, “Hamas used the opening of the Embassy as an excuse to stage a performance for the media”.

And that justifies shooting unarmed civilians dead? Ah, but they weren't civilians: most of them were Hamas members. And of course that justifies everything.

I wouldn't be so horrified if there weren't so many people who believe in this kind of justification. No wonder so many countries want to destroy Israel. Donald Trump wants regime change in Iran for far lesser (but still partially valid) reasons. Why not replace the current Israeli regime with one that believes in peace and equality? It could be a bloodless revolution.


With friends like these...
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

President Donald T. made the news today in a big way:

Looking at the latest decisions of Donald Trump, someone could even think: With friends like that, who needs enemies?” ... “But, frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful by President Trump. Because, thanks to him, we got rid of all the illusions. He has made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.

Clearly this President Donald T is not the one we all know and detest. He's Donald Tusk, the President of the European Union. And that's symptomatic of another issue that the US citizens also don't seem to understand: there's more to the JCPOA than Israel's rabid claims that Iran is out to destroy them.


Friday, 18 May 2018 Dereel Images for 18 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Flooding!
Topic: general, animals Link here

Last week we had a double flood: outside from the rain, inside from an overrun laundry sink.

Today it didn't rain. But somehow we managed to do even better with the laundry sink today, flooding not just in the laundry, but into the pantry, the garage, and the cupboard opposite:

 
This should be Flooding-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Flooding 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 144 kB
Dimensions of original: 3888 x 5184, 3174 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Flooding-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Flooding 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 442 x 610, 149 kB
Dimensions of original: 3888 x 5362, 5319 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Unfortunately I missed the best photo: Piccola carefully stepping through water about 1.5 cm deep, then trying to jump onto the washing machine, slipping, falling flat on her back into the water, and running off, disgusted.

We've removed the plug from the laundry sink. But on investigation, there's another drain connection on the downpipe, so we should be able to connect the dish washer there.


ANZ: Confirming your expectations
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

The other night I had asked IB to put in a formal complaint about ANZ's “security measures”, specifically asking that the response be from somebody in authority, thus rejecting the telephone complaints line asking that the response be in writing, and not via their broken mail system. I noted at the time that I had little hope of a sensible reply.

Today those fears were confirmed. Yvonne received an email:

Received: from mail1.bemta26.messagelabs.com (mail1.bemta26.messagelabs.com [85.158.142.5])
by www.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 6F4A41B72837
for <ykodd@lemis.com>; Thu, 17 May 2018 23:29:04 +0000 (UTC)
Received: from [85.158.142.99] (using TLSv1.2 with cipher DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 (256 bits))
by server-5.bemta.az-a.eu-central-1.aws.symcld.net id 34/20-11732-E301EFA5; Thu, 17 May 2018 23:29:02 +0000
Received: (qmail 29020 invoked from network); 17 May 2018 23:29:01 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO EXIAU001MELP002.ecorp.anz.com) (203.110.235.211)
  by server-19.tower-224.messagelabs.com with DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 encrypted SMTP; 17 May 2018 23:29:01 -0000
From: Your Feedback <YourFeedback@anz.com>
To: "ykodd@lemis.com" <ykodd@lemis.com>
Subject: ANZ Private & Confidential # COM-random-number
Date: Thu, 17 May 2018 23:28:30 +0000
Message-ID: <A03B542B4241D241A572DC8D8098C181CBFF0649@EXUAU020HWT204.oceania.corp.anz.com>
X-MS-Has-Attach:
X-MS-TNEF-Correlator:
x-originating-ip: [10.220.104.212]
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-RCIS-Action: ALLOW
Received-SPF: SoftFail (EXIAU001MELP002.ecorp.anz.com: domain of transitioning
 YourFeedback@anz.com discourages use of 10.10.3.82 as permitted sender)


Mr Yvonne Lehey

Dear Mr Lehey

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.

If your matter requires follow up or investigation, a Complaints Consultant will work with the relevant areas within ANZ to provide you with a resolution. If they have not done so already, the Consultant assigned to assist you will be in contact if we require more information to resolve the matter and when we have a resolution to offer you. Where we are required or at your request, we will provide the resolution in writing.

You can call us directly at the Complaint Resolution Centre on 1800 805 154 regarding the matter you have raised. We're available Monday to Friday, excluding national public holidays, 8am to 7pm AEST/AEDT. If overseas you can call +613 9683 7043 and ask to be transferred to the Complaint Resolution Centre. If calling through the International Operator, ANZ will accept the reverse charge.

How many confirmations of my complaints in one useless text:

  1. Headers that confirm the insecurity of the mail.
  2. In this case, the inability to note the sex of the client, although “Yvonne” shouldn't be that unusual, not even for an uneducated banker.
  3. Complete disregard for my request not to send email, and my statement that I didn't want to talk to anybody on the phone.
  4. Not a word addressing the complaint.

A lot of this could be because IB didn't report the problem correctly, of course. But then they should have listened to the transcript.

The only thing that stops me closing my accounts is that I fear that other banks are just as bad.


Hibiscus flowering again
Topic: gardening Link here

My old Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, cloned from a tree at my uncle Max's nearly 10 years ago, took a pause from flowering after repotting, growing considerably in the period. Now the first of many buds is open, about 2 m above the ground:

 
This should be Hibiscus-Viltrox-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus Viltrox 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 606 x 445, 88 kB
Dimensions of original: 4371 x 3209, 1979 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry


STF-8: flash of superlatives
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Nearly 4 years ago I bought a VILTROX JY-670 Macro Ring Lite ring flash unit. It was relatively cheap, and did what I wanted to—almost: it doesn't have any kind of automatic flash regulation.

So when I was offered an Olympus STF-8 macro flash unit for a (relatively) good price, I jumped at it. I summarized my first impressions on arrival: complicated, expensive, and weak.

Today I took some photos to compare the Viltrox with the STF-8. As mentioned, the problem with the Viltrox is the lack of automatic exposure. As a result, and despite a light meter, it took me three attempts to get a good photo. The examples here are without any post-processing correction, though the photo above has been corrected and cropped from the third of these images:

 
This should be Hibiscus-Viltrox-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus Viltrox 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 50 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 631 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Hibiscus-Viltrox-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus Viltrox 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 66 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 1282 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Hibiscus-Viltrox-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus Viltrox 4
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 74 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 1580 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

By comparison, the first photo with the Olympus looked just about right:

 
This should be Hibiscus-STF-8-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus STF 8 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 72 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 1447 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But look at those shadows on the wall!

 
This should be Hibiscus-STF-8-1-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus STF 8 1 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 554 x 488, 46 kB
Dimensions of original: 1170 x 1031, 87 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

That's the difference between a ring flash and a double flash. OK, we can fix that: use the diffusers provided:

 
This should be Hibiscus-STF-8-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus STF 8 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 59 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 968 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Oops, not enough light for that. The subject was 0.9 m away, and I took these photos at f/14. That requires a guide number of about 12.6, more than the flash can provide, and possibly an explanation for the somewhat dark appearance of the first image. OK, take at f/8:

 
This should be Hibiscus-STF-8-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus STF 8 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 70 kB
Dimensions of original: 4608 x 3456, 1442 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 18 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The image looks better exposed than the first one, possibly confirming that the flash unit can't quite handle it. But there seems to be no improvement at all in the shadows!

Somehow this flash unit is a superlative in many ways. On the positive side it gives good exposure within its limits. On the negative side, however:

  1. It is by far the most expensive flash unit I have ever bought.
  2. It is by far the weakest flash unit I have ever bought, only half that of the toy flashes supplied free with cheap Olympus cameras.
  3. It is by far the most difficult flash unit to use. I have never managed to attach the clips to the attachment rings in less than 5 minutes.
  4. For the price, it's an insult that they only supply two attachment rings, 46 mm and 62 mm. Of my 15 Olympus lenses, only 2 have these filter threads (the 30 mm and 60 mm macros). In particular, I can't use it with with my M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4.0 IS PRO. By contrast, the Viltrox comes with 7 rings which fit more than half my lenses.
  5. There's no flash test button. This is the first time I have ever seen a flash unit without a test button. Erm, what do you need a flash test button for when using TTL flash? It can be useful, but you can't always use TTL flash with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: focus stacking, one of the key advantages of the E-M1s, is incompatible with TTL flash, possibly because of the electronic shutter.

In summary, the purchase seems to be an failure. I wonder whether it's worth buying a mecablitz 15 MS-1. It has a guide number of 15, more than 6 times the power of the STF-8. It has a flash test button. It has some positively bizarre functions like remote function (for a ring flash!). About the only down side is that, according to the manual, it comes with only 3 adapter rings, 52 mm, 55 mm and 58 mm. Those will fit three of my lenses, including the other two macro lenses, but not the ones I want to use it with. Never mind, it's cheap enough to get a 46 mm to 52 mm or 55 mm adapter ring; in fact I already have one of each.

On the other hand, I read at B&H Photo Video that it comes with 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, and 72 mm adapter rings. But then they also sell a 62 mm adapter for the bargain price of only $22, roughly 25% of the price of the Viltrox. I really don't understand why the makers skimp on such cheap details.

Here's a comparison of the features:

Feature       Viltrox       mecablitz       Olympus
      JY-670       15 MS-1       STF-8
TTL flash       no       yes       yes
Flash test button       yes       yes       no
Guide number       14       15       6
Price       90       312       479

The prices are today's prices in USD, mainly from B&H Photo Video. They don't carry Viltrox, however, so that price is from eBay.

In passing, I need to look at the Exif decoding. It (currently) seems to be claiming that I took the STF-8 photos with manual setting of 1/10 power. That's not the case (in fact, it's not a possible setting): I had it set on TTL auto.


Where's that kangaroo?
Topic: animals Link here

Borzois are sight hounds, but they certainly do enough sniffing. There are many trails where kangaroos cross roads, and every time we pass one Nikolai has a good sniff. Here's a particularly good example:


This should be Nikolai-without-kangaroo-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Nikolai without kangaroo detail          Dimensions:          971 x 278, 190 kB Display location on map
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 18 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 18 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Friday, 18 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

He's standing almost exactly on a clearly defined path across the road, but he's reacting to smell. Presumably he's looking in the “they went thataway” direction.


Saturday, 19 May 2018 Dereel Images for 19 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

A day in the kitchen
Topic: food and drink Link here

Somehow I seem to have spent the entire day in the kitchen today, tidying up and cooking. I had planned to make both ayam lemak and chicken curry, but somehow I didn't find time, and I ended up making only ayam lemak from all of the chicken. Why is it so tiring?


Bravo Erdoğan!
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is not my favourite politician. It takes the likes of Rodrigo Duterte, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Donald Trump to keep him from the bottom of my list. But today he did something that was long overdue: compare the State of Israel to the Nazi régime. To quote Haaretz:

"There is no difference at all between the persecution inflicted on the Jews in Europe 75 years ago and the brutality faced by our brothers in Gaza", Erdogan [sic] said.

"The children of people who were tortured in concentration camps in every way during World War II unfortunately today resort to methods against innocent Palestinians that are in no way inferior to those of the Nazis."

Yes, that's significantly overstating the case. But in each case they killed innocent people in flagrant violation of human rights. What Israel needs to do now is to prove that they're not like the Nazis. And to do that, they need to step back from the tactics they've been using in recent decades. But what do we get? From The Times of Israel :

Erdogan, who supports the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza, ...

It's a matter of opinion whether Hamas is a terrorist group or not. They are the legitimate government of the Gaza Strip. They also have a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which comes closer to the definition of terrorists. But who has heard of them? No, it's Hamas that's normally mentioned. And I haven't been able to find anything that shows specific support by Erdoǧan for Hamas.

In passing, it's shameful that the government of Australia has joined the USA in opposing an investigation into the human rights abuses. But of course they're probably worried about the possibility of an investigation of human rights in their tropical gulags.


Sunday, 20 May 2018 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Still more housework
Topic: general Link here

Somehow the housework isn't letting up. Another 3 dish washer loads (5 since yesterday morning) are probably one way to measure the amount of work that I did, and there was enough left over in the evening for a sixth load. Thank God it's not always like this.


The 18 minute umount
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Time for another photo backup today, as usual with Yvonne waiting impatiently for it to finish. And it took its time: instead of the usual 15 minutes it took 25. And then I had the same thing I saw last weekend: it hung after the final df:

That's exactly what happened on Tuesday. On that occasion I had suspected that it was something to do with umount flushing buffers, but I didn't see any activity. Today I took another look. Yes, umount was running. The disk was no longer mounted, but there was I/O activity, quite a bit in fact: round 150 32 kB transfers per second, 4.8 MB/s, probably enough to saturate the slow external disk. OK, that makes sense—up to a point. After 3 minutes I was puzzled, but given that I had a panic last time, I let it run.

18 minutes! That's over 5 GB of I/O! Why? In each case, I had deleted about 150 GB of temporary files, and the rsync process had to remove them on the backup. But that's a lot of metadata.

Tuesday's panic was related to soft updates. Why? Why should the backup disk run with soft updates? But it was:

/dev/da2p1 on /photobackup (ufs, local, noatime, soft-updates, writes: sync 6 async 0, reads: sync 1 async 0)

Time to reconsider.


Monday, 21 May 2018 Dereel Images for 21 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More house construction issues
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

For a while I've noticed that one of the power points in the kitchen was loose:

 
This should be Power-point-5.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Power point 5
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 102 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 1693 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 22 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

As I said, “typical of my favourite electrician, Jim Lannen”. But there's not much of an issue: remove the face plate and screw the frame back tightly into its socket.

Unfortunately, that's not that simple: the frame is broken!

 
This should be Power-point-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Power point 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 120 kB
Dimensions of original: 5184 x 3888, 2170 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 22 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Power-point-3-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Power point 3 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 555 x 486, 95 kB
Dimensions of original: 994 x 871, 134 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 22 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

How did that happen? It could have also been the tiler who replaced the ornamental tiles that he had installed upside-down. Certainly at that time the frame was still intact:


This should be Disaster-1-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Disaster 1 detail          Dimensions:          1198 x 225, 70 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 6 May 2015, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 6 May 2015, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 6 May 2015 Complete exposure details

   
This should be Disaster-1-detail-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Disaster 1 detail 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 586 x 460, 84 kB
Dimensions of original: 349 x 274, 55 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 6 May 2015:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

So it seems that it was screwed back in again with so much tension that it finally broke. For once, Jim is off the hook.


Tuesday, 22 May 2018 Dereel Images for 22 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Weather: too bad for weather
Topic: general, technology Link here

The weather lately has been particularly unpleasant, almost British: rain. Only 10 mm, but a drizzle that lasted all day long. And for some reason the two halves of my weather station stopped communicating with each other.

Why? Took the internal unit to the door of the verandah, where it's in direct line of sight with the external unit, about 20 m away. No reaction after a couple of minutes. Batteries? Changed them, and how about that, it worked again. Problem solved, especially as I discovered, as so often, that one of the batteries was weaker than the other two.

And then it failed again! Remove batteries, replace them. Worked again. What's wrong with this device? It really looks as if the retry logic isn't as effective as the initial discovery. But why was it failing in the first place? This repeated a couple of times, and the situation gradually became worse, to the point that I gave up. From 18:22 there was no communication at all.

But what caused it? While removing batteries from the internal unit, I discovered that they're not needed when it's connected via USB: it gets the power like that. So the idea with batteries was wrong in the first place. Are the solar-charged batteries in the external unit discharged because of the grey weather? From experience with the predecessor, a set of charged batteries runs for about 6 months, so that seems unlikely. Moisture on the walls? Would that significantly impede the reception? That wouldn't explain why it worked when I went to the verandah. Maybe there's more than one issue in play.

Reception finally came back round 1:30. At least that suggests that it wasn't the batteries.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't time to stop worrying about perfect availability.


Wednesday, 23 May 2018 Dereel Images for 23 May 2018
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Mobile phone cameras: how good?
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

Yvonne has has a bright idea: get rid of the sofa couch in the music room, because it's too uncomfortable. Is that an issue? It almost never gets used. Here it is currently, giving a good idea of the amount of use it gets:

 
This should be Sofa-couch-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sofa couch 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 610 x 442, 152 kB
Dimensions of original: 4768 x 3456, 2790 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 24 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

So we agreed to give it to Amber Fitzpatrick, who will get it in the next few days.

And then Yvonne had an idea: we need a sofa bed. She found one on Facebook for only $50. How do I like the look of it?

 
This should be Sofa-bed-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sofa bed 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 18 kB
Dimensions of original: 720 x 540, 24 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 21 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Sofa-bed-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sofa bed 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 17 kB
Dimensions of original: 720 x 540, 23 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 21 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

What terrible photos! I can barely recognize anything. What went wrong there? Yvonne says “what do you expect from a phone camera?”, but the fact is that I expect something a whole lot better than that, even in low light. To prove the point, I took some photos with my Samsung GT-I9100T, really not the best of phone cameras:

 
This should be Yvonne-Piccola.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Yvonne Piccola
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 450 x 600, 106 kB
Dimensions of original: 2448 x 3264, 874 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 22 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Kitchen.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Kitchen
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 77 kB
Dimensions of original: 3264 x 2448, 616 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 22 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

They're recognizable as long as you don't look too closely:

 
This should be Yvonne-Piccola-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Yvonne Piccola detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 501 x 540, 82 kB
Dimensions of original: 477 x 514, 83 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 22 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Kitchen-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Kitchen detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 526 x 513, 62 kB
Dimensions of original: 290 x 283, 55 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 22 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

So what was wrong with the original photos? No idea. Anyway, today Yvonne went and took a look at it today, liked it, and took a real photo:

 
This should be Sofa-bed-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sofa bed 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 611 x 442, 158 kB
Dimensions of original: 4773 x 3456, 3307 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 23 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

At least I can recognize something there. So for $50 and a lot of carrying things around, we'll be back to the status quo.


A new cat door
Topic: general, animals, opinion Link here

We've been thinking about a cat door in the laundry for years, and even bought a door to fit into the glass outside door. Then, two months ago, we discovered that installation costs would exceed $800 because we needed a new glass panel. Since then we've been wondering if it's worth it, particularly since it would probably need to be removed if we sell the house.

But there are alternatives, like door panels that fit beside the glass door. We had looked at one for the dogs three years ago, but there wasn't enough space. Something similar is available for cats, as described in this video. So today Yvonne picked up one at Bunnings, and I installed it.

The good news: it works. Here it is without the sealing strips:

 
This should be Cat-door-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cat door 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 375 x 720, 151 kB
Dimensions of original: 2545 x 4888, 2374 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 24 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Cat-door-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cat door 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 437 x 617, 150 kB
Dimensions of original: 3311 x 4675, 2940 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 24 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The opening for the door wasn't exactly wide before. Now it's barely acceptable at 37 cm, but we can get through with no difficulty—if we turn sideways:

 
This should be Cat-door-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cat door 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 365 x 741, 124 kB
Dimensions of original: 2341 x 4752, 1715 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 24 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Why didn't I install the sealing strips? Despite what the salesperson at Bunnings said, I can't find a good way to lock it. He had suggested putting the catch for the lock on the panel, but that makes no sense:

 
This should be Cat-door-1-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cat door 1 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 622 x 434, 104 kB
Dimensions of original: 958 x 669, 139 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 24 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Apart from the fact that there's no way to attach the catch to the panel, it's not anchored firmly enough. The method supplied with the panel is a bracket to be screwed to the sliding door with a bolt through the frame. I'll defer that until I'm sure that we're going to keep the thing.


Understanding Edixa cameras
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

A little over 50 years ago I bought an Edixa-Mat Flex S camera body, and about 18 months later I replaced it with an Edixa-Mat Reflex D. That camera was stolen from me in Milano in September 1976.

For reasons partly of nostalgia and partly of interest, I recently bought a similar camera on eBay. It arrived today, and it's not as similar to the Edixa-Mat Reflex D as I thought. It doesn't have the slow shutter speeds of the D model (which, unusual for the day, had shutter speeds down to 9 seconds), and it also doesn't have an automatic diaphragm release. In those respects it's closer to my first Edixa camera, the Edixa-Mat Flex S, though I think that that camera didn't have speeds below 1/25 s. It also comes with a 50 mm f/2.8 Steinheil Cassar lens

Round about this point I came up with two basic questions: How old is this camera, and what's the difference between the individual models? It seems that in the entire lifetime of the Edixa reflexes (1954 to about 1970), the basic appearance hardly changed. And it also seems that the naming differences didn't necessarily make it to the inscription on the front panel. This page gives one view of the naming. With the older models with no electronics, it seems that we have these sub models of the Edixa Reflex, though it's not clear that the Edixa-Mat Reflex was any different:

Model       Year       Shutter (s)       Interchangeable viewfinder       Instant return mirror       Auto diaphragm       Exposure meter       Self timer
Reflex       1954       1/1000 - 1/25       yes       no       no       no       no
Reflex S       ?       1/500 - 1/25       yes       no       no       no       no
Reflex       1955-1965       1/1000 - 1       yes       no       no       no       no
Reflex A       ?       1/1000 - 1       yes       no       no       no       no
Reflex B, Ba       ?       1/1000 - 1       yes       yes       yes       no       no
Reflex C, Ca       ?       1/1000 - 1       yes       yes       yes       yes       no
Reflex D, Da       ?       1/1000 - 9       yes       yes       yes       no       yes

There are many more models there, but round this point I'm beginning to doubt their accuracy. For example, it claims that the Edixa Flex of 1959 included an exposure meter, which sounds very dubious to me, especially since it also states that the Flex of 1964 didn't have one. And my Edixa-Mat Flex S isn't even mentioned. I'll have to compare with other descriptions.

In any case, that table suggests that my new camera is either the first or the third on this list. After all, that's what it says on the front panel, and the features match. But when? My Flex S had the serial number 259171, and the Reflex D had the serial number 273753. The new camera has the serial number 152145, clearly much earlier.

This page has some indications:

Model       Serial number       Year
Edixa Reflex       102421       1956
Edixa Reflex A       111726       1956
Edixa Standard       204857       1960
Edixa-Mat Reflex D       265569       1961

What other indications are there? The instruction manual has, on the back, “Manufacturers of precision cameras for 30 years”. Wirgin made their first camera in 1924, so that would imply 1954. But I don't think the camera is that old. Another indication might be the film sensitivity dial around the film rewind knob: it's rated from 6 ASA/9° DIN to 400 ASA/27° DIN. By contrast, my Asahi Pentax SV, which I estimate to be from the early 1960s, has markings from 10 ASA to 1600 ASA. In general, it seems reasonable to date the current camera to round 1957 or 1958. The table above also suggests that my first Edixa-Mat was made in 1961, and the second Reflex D probably 1962.

Apart from that, how does it feel after all these years? I never thought as much of the Edixas as I did of the Pentaxes, and this camera confirms this. The viewfinder is much dimmer, and the image is smaller. The lens has no assistance at all for full-aperture focusing: the only way to set the aperture is fully manually, and that's difficult without resetting the focus. But I recall that even at the time I had a low opinion of the Cassar. Overall, the Edixa seems so much more primitive than the Pentax. Given that it was one of the more popular German cameras, it's not surprising that the German camera industry succumbed to the Japanese, all the time looking down their noses at them.


Thursday, 24 May 2018 Dereel Images for 24 May 2018
Top of page
previous day

Assam laksa again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

It's been a while since I last made assam laksa for breakfast. I did so today, this time with rice noodles that were much thinner than they should be.

On the whole, not bad. But some details need fixing. Here's package and the recipe on the back:

 
This should be Laksa-1.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Laksa 1
Dimensions: 497 x 542, 210 kB
Dimensions of original: 2409 x 2628, 3825 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Thursday, 24 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

This should be Laksa-2-detail.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Laksa 2 detail          Dimensions:          845 x 320, 220 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 24 May 2018

 

So I made my 1.5 litres. Too much. I think next time 1.2 litres would be about right.

And rice noodles continue to amaze. this one wanted to be left in cold water for 5 minutes. At the end of this time they were still hard. After 12 minutes, they were still hard, so I put them in hot (just off boiling) water for 5 minutes, after which they were al dente.


Fixing mplayer?
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

I've been using mplayer for over 15 years, and in the course of that time I have found enough cause for complaint. But it works, sort of, and the code is clear enough that I was able to add missing functionality, notably the ability to store file positions and to display information on the screen in a useful (for me) format. As a result, I have a set of patches that I have to apply to every new version.

But there are still things that I need to do. MPEG positioning is only to a key frame, and there's no way to step backwards frame by frame—something that we had with VCRs 30 years ago. I have been considering adding support for some time, but it's non-trivial.

And then I went looking for alternatives, and discovered that mpv supports positioning to any frame (“HR seek”, they call it). And how about that, I have it installed already. Why didn't I use it? I tried six months ago and discovered that it had no support for lirc.

At the time that was enough reason not to consider it further, but in the meantime I've given up on lirc too. The whole interface was wrong, and I don't find it inconvenient to have a real keyboard on my lap instead. So now I can use mpv, and I only needed a few changes to get it to do almost what I want it to do. It has a configuration file ~/.config/mpv/mpv.conf:

--- .config/mpv/mpv.conf        2018/05/24 05:57:23     1.1
+++ .config/mpv/mpv.conf        2018/05/24 09:22:05
@@ -30,7 +30,7 @@
 ##################

 # Start in fullscreen mode by default.
-#fs=yes
+fs=yes

 # force starting with centered window
 #geometry=50%:50%
@@ -136,3 +136,7 @@

 #[eye-cancer]
 #sharpen=5
+# Grog, starting 20180524
+osd-font-size=15
+# keep OSD on when we ask for it.
+osd-duration=0

That last line bases on undocumented behaviour. By default, OSD (“on-screen display”) information is removed again after 1 s, something that irritates me. osd-duration specifies a different timeout in milliseconds. But 0 means “keep it on”. It's not documented, so it's not clear whether this is a feature or a bug from the implementer's viewpoint.

It also has the option of saving the current position in ~/.config/mpv/watch_later/. I'm not sure if I like that as much as my concept of storing the information in the same directory as the video, but it does the job.

And these two features effectively mirror my patches to mplayer. Apart from that, I need to consider my mmp script, which I used for starting mplayer with my personal options. Many of them are superfluous with mpv, but at least keeping a record of what I have seen isn't. But it's trivial compared to what works out of the box.


Top of page Previous month Greg's home page Today's diary entry Greg's photos Copyright information

Valid XHTML 1.0!

$Id: diary-may2018.php,v 1.25 2018/05/24 07:25:28 grog Exp grog $